Basil is a fantastic herb and there are many varieties. Some have the classic basil flavour familiar in pesto, others have a hotter flavour such as the Thai basils, there are many other flavours including liquorice, lemonĀ  and aniseed varieties available. You can also get different coloured basils such as the variety Purple Ruffles. Browse through a good seed catalogue and try a few. Greek basil is good for growing in pots

Basil is a tender annual that will turn black at the first touch of frost. You can sow basil indoors from March to September. Pinch out the tips when they reach 12-15cm to give nice bushy plants. You can either grow them indoors or harden them off and plant out in early to mid June. For the best harvest, pinch out the flower buds as they form.

They are real slug magnets, so be sure to protect them. If you keep the plants indoors until a good size they’ll suffer less from the slugs.

You can harvest the earliest sowings from the end of June. The best leaves to pick are the young leaves at the top of the plants. Make sure you water with a general fertilizer to help the plants recover after picking the leaves.